What Purpose Do Synapses Serve? Essay

What Purpose Do Synapses Serve? Essay

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1. What purpose do synapses serve?
A synapse is the space between a presynaptic neuron and postsynaptic neuron. This is the location where chemical and electrical messages are transmitted from one neuron to another. Synapses are essential to neuronal function. They serve as a means of communication between neurons.
2. The brain is an organ that regulates body functions, behaviors, and emotions. Neurons are the cells that fulfill these functions. How do neurons do this? A neuron plays an important role in the central nervous system. Why? Because neurons regulate how we think, feel, and control our body functions. A typical neuron has three parts: cell body, axon, and dendrites. When a neuron receives an electrical impulse, that impulse travels away from the cell body by means of the axon. The axon then branches off into axon terminals. Once, that electrical signal reaches the axon terminals, a neurotransmitter is released by the neuron into the synapse. The neurotransmitter will then send a new electrical impulse triggering a second neuron. The neuron sending the message is called a presynaptic neuron. The receiving neuron is the postsynaptic neuron. These neurotransmitters control body functions, behaviors, and emotions. For instance, the neurotransmitter Serotonin is responsible for mood, appetite, and sensory perception. Dopamine produces pleasurable feelings. Acetylcholine can regulate memory and control muscle contractions. GABA helps us to sleep, control anxiety, and also plays a role in memory. Glutamate plays a role in learning and memory as well. Norepinephrine can regulate blood pressure and control calmness. These are just some of the neurotransmitters.
3. What is the difference between excitatory and inhibitory neurotr...


... middle of paper ...


...neurotransmitter. The neurotransmitter is released into the synapse, a space between two neurons. If the neurotransmitter tries to stimulate a response of another neuron, it is an excitatory neurotransmitter. If the neurotransmitter does not stimulate a response of another neuron it is an inhibitory neurotransmitter. If a response is generated, the second neuron or postsynaptic neuron will receive an action potential at the site of the dendrite and the communication process will continue on. If a response is not generated, neurotransmitters left in the synapse will be absorbed by the first neuron or presynaptic neuron, a process known as reuptake. Neurotransmitters control our body functions, emotions, and behaviors.




Reference
(1996). Neurons, Bain Chemistry, and Neurotransmission. The brain: understanding
neurobiology through the study of addiction. pp 41-48.

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